Recently, my mother sold the farm she and my father built. For close to fifty years she lived there and before that with her parents less than a quarter of a mile away. Except for three years at the beginning of her marriage, Baker Knob was home. It still is for a little longer.
The new owners don’t plan to move in for a while so we’ve had time to dig through a lifetime’s accumulation of “stuff.” It’s much like excavating the tombs and temples of ancient Egypt. We’ve unearthed precious treasures and memories of life lived in good times and bad.
This exploration brought the Egyptologist Kent Weeks to mind. His Theban Mapping Project revealed a tomb in the Valley of the Kings after experts believed there was nothing left hidden. KV5 had been discovered and forgotten because the explorers failed to penetrate further than the main chambers. It turns out Ramesses the Great constructed this tomb for his sons and it’s the largest of its kind.Keep in mind that Ramesses lived over 90 years and probably fathered more than 100 children. KV5 has approximately 150 chambers – if not more. His thirteenth son took the throne upon his death because he outlived the older sons. It could be said that Ramesses held his children in high esteem to entomb them in an area normally reserved for kings.
There is a great deal of damage to KV5 and it’s far from completely explored. In fact, Egyptologists will be digging and cataloguing in this tomb for many years to come. What I find most fascinating about this tomb is the evidence that Ramesses’ children lived.
Each time my mom discovers another drawing or art project created by me or my brother it reminds me that there’s proof I grew up here. Of course, there are no monuments or hieroglyphs telling my story, but there are tiny things such as the handprint stickers on the light switch of my bedroom that once upon a time glowed in the dark. The thunderbird sticker on the wall of my brother’s bedroom that no one bothered to take down hints at a personality.
I’m sure these little pieces of us will be replaced, but I’m equally sure that our spirit will remain within these walls. We were a family here. A husband and wife raised their children inside this house. Family and friends congregated for special occasions and every day camaraderie. This structure holds happiness, sorrow, laughter, tears, the awe of new life and the sorrow of life extinguished.
When we pack the last box and close the door for the last time we’ll move on to a new chapter in our lives. But just as KV5 will be connected to the children of Ramesses the Great, so will people in this community drive by and say, “The Fryes used to live there.”